This trail following the Sweetwater Canyon, quickly drops down into a lush aspen forest in its beginning 1/2 mile and crosses Lake Creek, then it climbs up a steep sagebrush and scrub oak hill. After leveling out on a ridge top, the trail continues through a large sagebrush flat. The condition of the trail in this area is a deep cut into the land with brushy overhang. At about 2 1/2 miles, the trail forks; follow the right fork heading towards the canyon. As the trail enters a large wet meadow, it becomes faint, but continues again straight across near an aspen stand. From the midpoint on, the trail is fairly level passing through spruce/fir forests with some aspen. After crossing the Dry Sweetwater Creek the trail ends connecting onto the Sweetwater Trail, #1854.
SWEETWATER INDIAN CAVES - This small cave located on a
short steep offshoot from the trail at the Lake Creek crossing is on private land, visitors are welcome, but please no more graffiti! The cave entrance has charcoal pictographs of horses and bison made by the Utes 150 - 200 years ago.
WILDFLOWERS - Sagebrush flats at this elevation are always good places to find abundant wildflowers. Early summer is the best time to find an excellent display of lupine, white and purple peavine, flax, sulfur flowers, wild geraniums, locoweed and scarlet gilia.
Directions: From Beaver Creek, Travel 34 miles west on I-70 to the Dotsero exit. Follow signs for Sweetwater turning north onto the Colorado River Road. Go 7 miles, turn left onto the Sweetwater Creek Road. Stay on this road for 10 miles, turning left at the sign for Sweetwater campground. There is a day use parking lot with vault toilets at the campground. The Cross Creek Trail can be accessed by hiking on the Ute Trail for 1/4 mile or going on the scenic overlook trail for 1/2 mile.
Elevation: 7,960 feet
Ending Elevation: 9,360 feet
Distance: 6.5 miles
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White River National Forest, Colorado
Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 Wildernet.com all rights reserved.
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